I don’t remember the term “spiritual warfare” being used much in the churches I grew up in, and I was a three-time-a-weeker. However, there have been times in my adult life and ministry that I’ve been very well aware – acutely aware – of the fact that a spritual battle is being waged for glory and souls.
Perhaps the best passage of scripture in the New Testament to remind of us ongoing struggle for spiritual loyalty is Ephesians 6.10-18:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand…
One of the helpful things about this passage is that it is a perspective adjustment for most of us. We’re so used to blaming people, circumstances, or events for the difficult moments in our life. Sometimes our blame may be well-placed (though it’s never healthy or beneficial to play the blame game); however, other times we may be forgetting the fact that an unseen, spiritual war is being waged. Paul’s teaching asserts that our struggle is not against people (“flesh and blood”) but against something more sinister – very real spiritual beings and forces that are bent on our destruction, division, discouragement and distraction (didn’t mean to “dis” you here… hahaha).
One of the amazing things about where our church is right now is that the Lord is doing so much through His people. Yet, there is a very real conflict going on that we cannot see. Any time territory is being taken from Satan, and the name of Christ is being lifted up, you can expect attack. However, the greater joy is that we are told to rejoice in all circumstances and to do our battles with spiritual weapons rather than earthly ones. (2 Corinthians 10.3-5)
Consider the impact that folks are making:
- Blogging with a purpose (BWAP)
- Buying groceries
- Mowing yards
- Building houses
- Renovating churches
- Reading and studying scripture
- Helping people move in/out
- Seeking to lead others to Christ through verbal and written witness
- Seizing everyday opportunities to proclaim our love for Jesus Christ
- Praying together
- Showing others “how to..” pray, give, go, serve, study the Bible, witness
- Establishing new things to reach and encourage more people
- Stepping out on limbs and walking on water in faith
- Building relationships with lost people
- Enjoying life
- Lending a hand to others for home repair
That’s just a smattering of things that I know are going on just in the last few days through the people of our church. It’s truly amazing.
When things don’t make sense in life or faith or church, I’d encourage you to step back and gain perspective. To consider whether you’re falling into the trap of the enemy that would seek to discourage, distract, divide, or destroy you. Do not believe his lies. Understand that there is a very real plan to keep you from intimacy in Christ.
…for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2.11; also see 1 Peter 5.8)